Conopeptide-Derived κ‑Opioid Agonists (Conorphins): Potent, Selective, and Metabolic Stable Dynorphin A Mimetics with Antinociceptive Properties
Croker, Daniel E
Alewood, Paul F
MetadataShow full item record
Opioid receptor screening of a conopeptide library led to a novel selective κ-opioid agonist peptide (conorphin T). Intensive medicinal chemistry, guided by potency, selectivity, and stability assays generated a pharmacophore model supporting rational design of highly potent and selective κ-opioid receptor (KOR) agonists (conorphins) with exceptional plasma stability. Conorphins are defined by a hydrophobic benzoprolyl moiety, a double arginine sequence, a spacer amino acid followed by a hydrophobic residue and a C-terminal vicinal disulfide moiety. The pharmacophore model was supported by computational docking studies, revealing receptor–ligand interactions similar to KOR agonist dynorphin A (1–8). A conorphin agonist inhibited colonic nociceptors in a mouse tissue model of chronic visceral hypersensitivity, suggesting the potential of KOR agonists for the treatment of chronic abdominal pain. This new conorphine KOR agonist class and pharmacophore model provide opportunities for future rational drug development and probes for exploring the role of the κ-opioid receptor.
Version of Record reproduced in accordance with ACS Journal Publishing Agreement, section 7, in connection with NHMRC funding mandate.